6 tips for spring ski-tailgating success

Sun's out, guns out!
Spring après-ski dress code: Goggles stay on and just about everything else is optional. Photo: Courtesy of skyjuice on Flickr

The best beers on the planet are those within eye-shot of the mountain—usually after a bunch of runs on perfect spring snow. And those cold bevvies taste even better when you don’t have to pay through the nose to buy ’em. Save the $9 pints at the lodge/sundeck for winter and get ready for spring ski-tailgating success.

1. Prepare

Being prepared ain’t just for Boy Scouts. Prep as much food as possible before you get to the hill; that means marinating kebabs (usually the night before) as well as cutting up any burger fixings and putting them in a tray. (And packing your cooler with care—see below.) If you want to commit to tailgating in a big way, use a toolbox for commonly needed items like lighters, BBQ tools, condiment holders, cutlery (usually plastic), wet wipes, sunblock, hand sanitizer, garbage bags, and a bottle opener/corkscrew. Make sure you have enough of the necessities, like charcoal or gas, to fuel your grill. Using charcoal? Don’t forget a metal bucket for old coals.

Cooler Tetris.
A little forethought in packing your cooler will pay cold beer and tasty burger dividends. Photo: Pinterest

2. Can it

Cans are your friend. They’re easy to pack into a cooler, empties are a cinch to deal with, and you never have to tangle with with broken glass. Beer snob? No problem. There are a slew of awesome brews in cans. And boxed wine rocks.

3. BBQ

Nothing says you’re an après-ski tailgate professional like some brats, dogs, and burgers (veggie and otherwise.). If you wanna roll econo, go with the Weber Smokey Joe: It’s only about $30, weighs less than 10 pounds, is wicked portable, and has a temperature control that works well. Or go pro with the stainless-steel Weber Q 2200.

Spring fun at Arapahoe Basin.
Playa? We don’t need no stinkin’ playa. The freak flag flies proudly at the best spring ski-tailgating parties. Photo: Courtesy of skyjuice on flickr

4. Ice, ice, baby

Yeah, there’s plenty of snow to be had, but you’ll want some ice for drinks—and using what’s keeping that raw hamburger cold is just unthinkable. Bring a couple extra bags just for beverages.

5. Music

Bring a good outdoor speaker with Bluetooth that’s loud, but not loud enough to be that guy. (Litmus test to see if you’re that guy: You regularly think to yourself, “This song/album is awesome!!! EVERYONE should hear it at max volume.”) We swear by our Fugoo because it’s burly enough to be dropped again and again, waterproof, and has 40 hours of battery life. Most important? It sounds amazing. It’s also intuitive and it’s easy to connect different phones so everyone can get in on the DJing fun. Lastly, it’s so portable that it can follow the tailgate to the next logical stop: hot-tubbing.

Sometimes the perfect tailgate session starts just with a few buddies hanging out. Photo: Courtesy of kayaktherockies on Flickr

6. Frito pie chili!

No BBQ? No problem. Make a batch of chili beforehand, heat it up on a camp stove, and dole it out into single-serve bags of Fritos. This snack is portable, delicious, and has minimal cleanup.

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